There are many different streaming hardware options for churches. It can be difficult to know which is the best one for your Kids Ministry. Many of the terms used are gibberish to most of us, which makes it difficult to pin down exactly what we need from a device and decide which is the best. Roku, Apple TV, or Fire Stick? Read our helpful comparison for streaming your church videos. Then, you can choose for yourself (or take our expert opinion)!
Screen Sharing Church Videos
One of the main uses of a streaming stick in a church is to improve your church streaming services in meetings or during kids ministry. All of the devices and streaming hardware offer premium quality streaming from your phone at the touch of a button.
Previously, it was impossible to use different branded devices as you had to commit to either Amazon or Apple. Fortunately, this has changed. We can now download an add-on app (Allcast), to access the sharing features from almost any device. Beware, though! Streaming in your rooms is dependent on your WiFi signal strength. In our experience, WiFi in kids’ rooms on a Sunday is average at best, making these streaming devices like the Fire Stick and Roku risky. The Apple TV is equipped with 32 GB memory to store your content, so it works without the internet with services like Playlister.
Amazon and Apple have well-established virtual assistant companions, Alexa and Siri, who have become household names across the country. They search for titles vocally can be done in a complex way, which enables more detailed and specific searches.
Roku’s software is somewhat less sophisticated, with simpler terms being preferred. However, it is less needed for church use, since it is primarily used for presentations rather than searching for movies.
Apps on Streaming Hardware
Unlike its branded counterparts, Roku doesn’t favor any particular channels and lets you design your homepage. It has most of the mainstream apps, except for HBO Max. The ability to keep the apps you need and regularly use on the homepage will make your life a lot easier. The starting process will be smooth and speedy rather than spending the first ten minutes of a session getting organized.
Both Apple TV and Amazon Fire Stick are streaming hardware that offer the big-name apps you would expect from a streaming stick. However, the competition means several high-profile apps are missing from Fire Stick’s collection. But keep in mind that it’s unlikely that you would miss Peacock or HBO Max from your church’s use.
Video Quality for Church Videos
Roku has several models available for different prices, with HD, 4K, and HDR options. We recommend opting for the highest quality stick, as the price isn’t that much lower, but you can still get started with HD streaming if your budget is smaller.
All three streaming hardware support Dolby Vision for high dynamic video playback. Still, only Fire Stick and Apple TV offer HDR 10, which provides richer color, more detail, and is generally superior to options that offer 4K alone. Putting Roku behind in the running, the quality provided by the Apple TV and Fire Stick is in a league of its own.
Apple TV offers an inbuilt conference mode, specifically designed for simplicity while in a meeting or conference. You are automatically displaying the instructions of use and how to connect. This means that anyone who needs to use the room can use the Airplay feature (but nothing else) with ease. Created to be personalized, you can choose a message and background to welcome the user, too.
Roku and Amazon Fire Stick may not have an inbuilt conference mode. But downloading an app that does the job is easy enough. With Zoom meetings largely inescapable nowadays, you’ll probably want the app downloaded regardless.
Interface on Streaming Hardware
The interface offered by Roku is the most straightforward, as all the apps are displayed on the home channel. Many would prefer Apple’s more comprehensive selection of apps and flashier displays. Everyone does not appreciate Roku’s simplicity. One downside is that Roku’s menu can’t be modified and often shows PG-13 and R-rated movie titles in screen saver mode. That’s sometimes a deal-breaker for kids’ rooms.
Our main criticism of the Fire Stick is that it relentlessly tries to make you buy more Amazon products as you’re using it. If you are already a subscriber to Amazon Prime, the interface will generally be easier to navigate instead of accidentally spending extra money.
Roku and Amazon also have a handy feature called universal search, which helps you track down every place to watch a TV show or movie. This way, even if you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can discover another place to watch it.
Price of Streaming Hardware
Coming in at the most expensive streaming hardware is, unsurprisingly, the Apple TV. Costing $149, this premium product isn’t cheap, but you are paying for the quality and smoothness of use. Volunteers love the remote and simplicity of Apple’s setup because they are likely using it at home or work already. Next up, we have the Fire Stick at a lower price, for around $49.99. Roku comes in at a similar cost to Amazon, with the latest edition being offered for $49.99 on their website.
Which is the Best Streaming Stick for Church Videos?
Considering all of these elements, we think that the Apple TV is the best product for use as church presentation software. This is because the screen mirroring offered by the other devices falls short of Apple’s Airplay feature. Also, the Apple TV is the only solution that can store your content and work with lousy WiFi or no WiFi. While the price tag may be more than the others, the premium quality and ease of use offered by the Apple TV are matched by no other.